jigger

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From jig +‎ -er (agent suffix).

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary suggests a possible link to Old High German gīga (fiddle).

Noun[edit]

jigger (plural jiggers)

A jigger (sense 1)
  1. (US) A double-ended vessel, generally of stainless steel or other metal, one end of which typically measures 1 1/2 fluid ounces, the other typically 1 fluid ounce.
    • 2000, Robert B. Hess, drinkboy.com:
      A good jigger will have a well formed lip that will pour a clean stream into the cocktail shaker or glass.
  2. (US) A measure of 1 1/2 fluid ounces of liquor.
  3. (mining) The sieve used in sorting or separating ore.
  4. (mining) One who jigs; a miner who sorts or cleans ore by the process of jigging.
  5. (pottery) A horizontal lathe used in producing flatware.
    • 2004, thepotteries.org, "Jiggering":
      Hand jiggers consisted of two iron frames with a spindle in each - the driving spindle with its iron belt pulley approximately 20 inches in diameter and the driven spindle with a small wooden pulley.
  6. (textiles) A device used in the dyeing of cloth.
  7. A pendulum rolling machine for slicking or graining leather.
  8. (Britain, slang, dated) A bicycle
    • 1932, Frank Richards, "The Complete Outsider", The Magnet:
      He made the discovery that the bikestand was vacant and the machine gone. "Where the thump's my jigger?" he exclaimed.
  9. (golf, dated) A wooden or metal headed golf club used to play low flying shots to the putting green from short distances.
  10. (nautical) A light tackle, consisting of a double and single block and the fall, used for various purposes, as to increase the purchase on a topsail sheet in hauling it home; the watch tackle.
  11. (nautical) A jiggermast.
  12. (nautical, New England) A small fishing vessel, rigged like a yawl.
  13. (fishing) A device used by fishermen to set their nets under the ice of frozen lakes.
  14. (archaic) One who dances jigs; an odd-looking person.
  15. (New Zealand) A short board or plank inserted into tree for a person to stand on while cutting off higher branches.
  16. (US) A placeholder name for any small mechanical device.
  17. (rail transport, New Zealand) A railway jigger, a small motorized or human powered vehicle used by railway workers to traverse railway tracks.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

jigger (third-person singular simple present jiggers, present participle jiggering, simple past and past participle jiggered)

  1. To alter or adjust, particularly in ways not originally intended.
    You'll have to jigger it from the original specifications to get it to work.
  2. (pottery) To use a jigger.
  3. To move, send, or drive with a jerk; to jerk; also, to drive or send over with a jerk, as a golf ball.
    • 1899, Carlyle Smith, "The Secret of Golf", Harper's Magazine:
      He could jigger the ball o'er a steeple tall as most men would jigger a cop.
Synonyms[edit]
  • (use a pottery jigger): jolley
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Likely a corruption of chigoe. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary suggests a possible derivation from Wolof jiga (insect).

Noun[edit]

jigger (plural jiggers)

  1. A sandflea, Tunga penetrans, of the order Siphonaptera; chigoe.
  2. A larva of any of several mites in the family Trombiculidae; chigger, harvest mite.

Etymology 3[edit]

A slang term of unknown origin, originally meaning prison. Oxford English Dictionary suggests that its origin might be the same as Etymology 1, above.

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

jigger (plural jiggers)

  1. (slang, archaic) A prison; a jail cell.
    • 1990, “Supreme Court of Iowa”, in Court Listener[1], Harper v. State, 463 N.W.2d 418 (Iowa 1990):
      According to a disciplinary notice, a correctional officer saw a "jigger string" coming from cell H-2 to Harper's cell. A jigger string is used to move objects between cells.
  2. (dialectal, Liverpudlian, dated) An alleyway separating the backs of two rows of houses.
    • 1967, Peter Madden, “The Supreme Winnower”, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, volume 301, William Blackwood, OCLC 405827705, page 178:
      "It's jus' through this jigger and round the back of the next block." She hurried through the alleyway in front of me; the pressing back-yard walls prevented anything more than single file.
  3. (slang, euphemistic) A penis.
    • 1931, Chloe Owings, A Research in Parental Sex Education, University of Minnesota Press, OCLC 4756160, page 245:
      Well, they saw a little boy on the street and his penis was hanging out and they said his "jigger" was hanging out, and I said, "Well, maybe his mother didn't tell him differently."
  4. (slang, euphemistic) A vagina.
    • 2002, Nalo Hopkinson, “Paris, 1842”, in Elizabeth Ruth, editor, Bent on Writing: Contemporary Queer Tales, Toronto: Women's Press, →ISBN, page 23:
      A tiny pulse from Lisette's thigh beat under my ear: stroke, stroke, stroke. I contemplated the thick red bush of her jigger, so close to my face.
  5. (obsolete, Britain, thieves' cant) A door.
    • 1821, Haggart, David, The Life of David Haggart[2], page 98:
      On getting to the top of the stair, to my disappointment there was a padlock upon the garret jigger; I wheep't out my chive, broke it up, and picked the padlock with the back-spring.
    • 1828, Bulwer-Lytton, Edward, chapter LXXXIII, in Pelham: or The Adventures of a Gentleman[3], page 402:
      "Crash the cull—down with him—down with him before he dubs the jigger. Tip him the degan, Fib, fake him through and through; if he pikes we shall all be scragged."
  6. (slang) An illegal distillery.
  7. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (slang, Britain) A lock pick.
    • 1935, Science News Letter - Volumes 27-28, page 164:
      Officials of Chicago't Cook County Jail watch Ed Stanley, inmate, pick sample locks with a professional "jigger gun."
    • 1936, Clyde B. Clason, The Fifth Tumbler, page 245:
      The jigger gun and nippers would be out of sight down the shaft, and the face of the plate hides the thread.
    • 1938, Chain Store Age - Volume 14, page 147:
      ...of attack that open practically any padlock — the use of keys, picking of the lock with hand picks or jigger guns, ....
    • 2010, Mark Abernethy, Second Strike, →ISBN, page 19:
      Sizing up the padlock, Mac slapped at a webbing pocket for his lock jiggers, but felt nothing.
    • 2012, Michael Gilbert, Sky High, →ISBN, page 183:
      The question is, where did he get this jigger from? You don't buy them at ironmongers, you know.' He handled the bright instrument lovingly. As he moved the handles the two tiny levers opened and shut like the mandibles of a Picasso crab.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

jigger (third-person singular simple present jiggers, present participle jiggering, simple past and past participle jiggered)

  1. (slang, obsolete) To imprison.
    • 1870, J.T. Campion, "Billy in the Bowl", The Shamrock volume 8, page 107:
      ...offering to swear an alibi for the prisoner [...] to ensure an acquittal. Terms: £50 for value received. No pay if jiggered.
  2. (slang, archaic) To confound; to damn.
    • 1831, John Banim, The Smuggler page 231:
      jigger me, but I think you be turning jest into earnest,
    • 1887, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Little Lord Fauntleroy page 173:
      It had always been his habit to say, "I will be jiggered," but this time he said, "I am jiggered."

References[edit]